The Story Of Isaac

Leonard Cohen

The door it opened slowly, my father he came in
I was nine years old
And he stood so tall above me, blue eyes they were shining
And his voice was very cold
He said, "I've had a vision and you know I'm strong and holy
I must do what I've been told"
So he started up the mountain, I was running, he was walking
And his axe was made of gold
Well, the trees they got much smaller, the lake a lady's mirror
We stopped to drink some wine
Then he threw the bottle ove, broke a minute later
And he put his hand on mine
Thought I saw an eagle but it might have been a vulture
I never could decide
Then my father built an altar,he looked once behind his shoulder
He knew I would not hide
You who build these altars now to sacrifice these children
You must not do it anymore
A scheme is not a vision and you never have been tempted
By a demon or a god
You who stand above them now, your hatchets blunt and bloody
You were not there before
When I lay upon a mountain and my father's hand was trembling
With the beauty of the word
And if you call me brother now, forgive me if I inquire
"Just according to whose plan?"
When it all comes down to dust I will kill you if I must
I will help you if I can
When it all comes down to dust I will help you if I must
I will kill you if I can
And mercy on our uniform, man of peace or man of war
The peacock spreads his fan
NOTE: use the standard Cohen picking style (see Winter Lady)
(from Songs From a Room, 1968)
(sent by Harlan at

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